Nobody to Baptize Michael

By Ellen Johnson

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(Based on a true incident)And their children shall be baptized for the remission of their sins when eight years old (D&C 68:27).

Michael was going to Suzanne’s and Sara’s baptisms with Sister Ferguson. She always invited her Primary class to the baptisms of their classmates. Michael was glad that his family wasn’t going. Suzanne and Sara would be baptized by their fathers, and his family there would remind him that his father would not be baptizing him.

He was going to be eight soon, but he felt more worried than excited about his birthday. Sometimes that made him angry. Wasn’t a birthday supposed to be all fun? The ride to church was nice because Sister Ferguson didn’t mention his birthday. She talked about school and friends, his bike, and his cat.

Lots of people were at the baptism. Some were from the ward; others seemed to be relatives of Suzanne or Sara. Among those he recognized were Primary leaders, home teachers, bishopric members, friends, and even the missionaries with some investigators.

It is nice they are all here, he thought. I wonder if they came just because it is partof their job. It seemed to Michael that the parents cared the most about a kid’s baptism. And if one or both of your parents didn’t care, you were all alone.

Michael listened to a sister talk about baptism. She said that Suzanne and Sara were making promises to Heavenly Father and that Heavenly Father was making promises to them. The sister said that it was comforting to have a Father who always kept His promises. That made Michael feel a little better, but he was still sad and worried.

He got up close to the font to watch the baptisms. Afterward, he watched Sara and then Suzanne receive the gift of the Holy Ghost and wondered if Suzanne and Sara liked having all those hands on their heads. Did they know all those men?

After the service, Sister Ferguson approached him. “Did you like being at the baptism?”

“Yes,” he said.

“Are you thinking about your own baptism?” she asked him gently.


“Why are you looking so worried?”

Michael stared at the floor. “Because I don’t have anyone to baptize me.”

Sister Ferguson gave Michael a hug and led him away. They walked over to a quiet place away from the others. “Do you remember in the baptism prayer hearing the words ‘Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ’?” she asked.

Michael thought a moment. “I think so.”

Sister Ferguson explained, “Being commissioned of Jesus Christ means acting for Him, using His power to do His will. Whoever baptizes must have His power, which is the priesthood. It doesn’t matter who actually puts you down into the waters of baptism, because that person is acting for Jesus Christ, not for himself.

“We are all brothers and sisters, children of Heavenly Father. We’re family. All the people at this baptism are here because they are happy to see Suzanne and Sara following the Savior’s commandment to be baptized and making a promise to follow Him. All the men who helped confirm them want to share the love and happiness they feel as members of Christ’s church. Any one of them would be honored to be a representative of Jesus Christ and baptize you. The important thing is for you to obey the commandment to be baptized and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”

Michael understood, but tears came to his eyes, anyway. “But I want my dad to baptize me.”

“I know,” Sister Ferguson said. “I wish he could too. All I can do is tell you how much I love you and how much more Heavenly Father loves you. And you won’t be the only one who didn’t get baptized by his father. The Savior Himself was baptized by John the Baptist. New members are often baptized by missionaries. Sometimes older brothers baptize their younger brothers or sisters. You can ask any worthy priesthood holder who has been ordained a priest or received the Melchizedek Priesthood. Why don’t you talk to your mother about it when you get home?”

Michael nodded. Then he went to get a drink and talk to his friends. It felt good to know that so many people really did care.

Photos by Welden Andersen; posed by models